By Camaron Abundes
MIDLAND COUNTY- The City of Midland is moving forward with a 2006 plan to annex the Bizzell-Kiser Windowpane neighborhood North of I-20 adjacent to Wal-Mart. During a public meeting on Tuesday, city leaders fielded a flurry of questions about the transition, everything from stop signs to sidewalks.
"We have a lot of questions," April Montelongo commented following the first of two public meetings the city is required, by state law, to hold before the neighborhood can be annexed.
Along with a city address, homeowners will see changes including stricter enforcement of city codes. City officials estimate 150 people live in the Windowpane area.
"Sure it's a shock in the beginning and will probably be so for the rest of the year, but it's just going to have to be us proving to them that we are there for them." At-Large Councilman Jerry Morales said the process will pose a challenge but residents will benefit from the new city services.
Residents will soon be required to pay city property taxes but officials say the cost will be offset by lowered water and sewer costs. Currently residents pay 1.5 times the rate of city users.
"It's time for it. We've got a lot of development it's real close to I-20. I think it's important we look good along the Interstate too." Max Cuellar, a local resident said the change will also improve property values.
District 2 Councilwoman Vicky Hailey stressed the importance of holding public meetings to answer any questions residents may want answered.
"With all the economic development going on around it, to leave that neighborhood as it is just wouldn't be right. Once we start to cleanup and see it happening, everyone will be on the same page," Hailey said the changes needed are visible. "You can tell by riding around the neighborhood some things need to be done. It took a while to get like this so I ask people to be patient. We can't clean it up overnight."
Some want to see the standard of living improve, even if it means cleaning up.
"Street lights, which we need for our kids, stop signs and everything. We just hope they're going to come through on it," Rosa Arizipe, a local resident said the changes sound positive if the city moves forward with them quickly.
Others are concerned about adhering to new city codes.
"It will be negative with the codes and all that because it's change," Montelongo said residents will be forced to adapt.
Councilman Morales says one potential challenge may arise in the cost of cleanup, considering the city has seen a drop in tax revenue.